SLO Natural Foods
San Luis Obispo’s SLO Natural Foods Co-op, the only co-op between Monterey and Isla Vista, embodies the mantra of “support your neighbors.” Owned collectively by community members, this hyper-local business promotes sustainability by supporting local farmers, offering locally-produced products, and supplying local restaurants with organic ingredients. We fondly call it the “SoSLO Co-op” which plays on SoCal-NorCal references and gestures toward the Slow Food movement. The name fits as well because the SLO Natural Foods offers a deliberate, informed approach to healthy eating and living.
Walking the Walk: Serving the SLO Community for 30+ Years
Employees have bicycled to work here since the earliest days of this grocery-health food store-plant nursery-bookstore. As the business grew organically from a seedling idea in the late 70s to operating out of someone’s garage on Pacific in the 80s to Francis Street off of South Broad Street to its current location at 2494 Victoria Avenue, it has always endeavored to support the community through facilitating connections with local farmers and their produce. The produce section hosts many examples of local fruits and vegetables. Approximately 50% of this produce arrives from local Central Coast fields.
This business functions like a farmers market open seven days a week in one location. Not only does the Co-op support local farmers by featuring their produce but it allows people to support the community through direct ownership of the business. Of the community, for the community, by the community, SLO Natural Foods supports our neighbors and keeps it local in SoSLO.
Mr. Spice and I appreciate how often we find great gourmet products—from goat cheese to chocolate bars to polenta—with flashy neon red stickers announcing a sale price. Sale prices make it easy to choose organic. The employees all seem to enjoy working here, which always reaffirms to us that we’ve voted with our dollars in exactly the right place.